Outside of politics, the subject of movies might just be the most controversial, argument-starting, friendship-straining topic. Just like with politics I mostly prefer not to know people's preferences regarding film. I'm afraid I'll get to know someone, like them, and then find out they love Vin Diesel movies. Then I'll never be able to look at them the same way again. And as much as you might think you know someone, their movie proclivities can still surprise you.
Recently I got together with some family and the topic of movies inevitably arose. After seeing a large newspaper ad for the latest Clive Owen movie, we began talking about him. I asked if anyone had seen SHOOT 'EM UP, a fun film that I really liked and was immediately met with condescension from my brother, sister, and brother-in-law. My brother mentioned CLOSER and said he really enjoyed it. Apparently he was the only one and this time it was his turn for the ridicule. However, the one Clive Owen film we could all agree on was the great CHILDREN OF MEN.
My brother and I also disagreed on INGLORIOUS BASTERDS. He thought it was too long and each scene rather redundant. He also lamented the historical inaccuracies. I thought the long scenes really built the tension well and as for the history, it never really crossed my mine; I just found the film very entertaining.
I'm also the only one of the group who didn't love SUPERBAD, (in fact, I pretty much hated it). My sister and her husband seem to like a lot of silly movies and they're always telling me I should see them. I finally relented and saw BALLS OF FURY and...well, I wish I can say I liked it, but I can't.
You just never know what people will like and dislike. I have a friend named Ryan and he and I always seemed in sync on most things. We both love Woody Allen and the Coen Brothers (Ryan even wrote a paper on THE BIG LEBOWSKI for a college class). So when one day I mentioned how much I enjoyed A MIGHTY WIND, I expected him to agree. But he kind of grimaced and said he really didn't like those Christopher Guest movies. What? How was this possible?
I have another friend whose favorite movie is HOME ALONE and more than once I've wondered if I should be friends with him.
As for my wife, don't get me started. She likes some good stuff like SHAUN OF THE DEAD and anything Ricky Gervais is in, but somehow she'll also watch with fixed attention a movie like STEP UP TO THE STREETS and pretty much any romantic comedy. The other day she actually squealed when she saw MANNEQUIN 2 was on. Not the first one (which would be bad enough), but the sequel.
Differing opinions on movies among your friends and family is one thing, but what about in your professional life? A couple years ago, after starting a new job, I was told the head of the department wanted to see me (apparently he met every new hire). He seemed to be a nice guy and after some small talk, he asked me what my favorite movie was. I don't really have one favorite but then he specified: favorite drama. The first film that came to my mind was THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION. When I said that his face lit up. Apparently that was his favorite drama as well and the prison they filmed at was actually in his hometown. He talked about that for a little while and then asked about my favorite comedy. Again, the first thing that came to me was the aforementioned THE BIG LEBOWSKI, and I was all set for a similar animated reaction. But, when I watched the smile fall off his face, I knew it wasn't coming. He had never seen it, it sounded like he had barely even heard of it. Nope, his favorite comedies, he said, were the ones with Chris Farley and David Spade, BLACK SHEEP, and such. Now, I don't have a problem with those films but all-time favorites? Eh, what can you do? (On a side note, I only lasted at the job for a few months. I can't say that guy's movie preferences had anything to do with my short term there, but they certainly didn't help).
Movies are certainly great, and I guess if there's a lesson to be learned from all this it's that everyone's entitled to his or her opinion. But please, if we ever meet, keep your love of Vin Diesel movies to yourself.
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Thoughts, observations, conjectures, complaints about movies and mostly how they relate to me personally. If you're looking for something a little broader, try Ebert.
Born to write (literally – much to the displeasure of his mother, he emerged with a pencil clutched in one tiny fist), Tim spends most of his days crafting epic monosyllabic poems, new comical titles to his favorite Beatles' songs (Hey, Dude), and angry letters to local businesses that have wronged him in some way. He's really an okay guy once you get to know him.|
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